Let’s say your business had it all. The king of producing the perfect content, the best engagement, every review site had raving reviews, everyone wants one of your products, everyone wants to shake your hand, everyone loves your business. Everyone wants to be your best friend.
Do you love the customers that LOVE you? Or would you select “It’s complicated” as a relationship status?
I have to wonder if Steve Jobs ever takes a moment and is filled with joy and appreciation for all customers that love their products. Is there a moment where he longs to meet these people that love Apple, love the way he dresses and truly wants to get to know them? Wonder if he wants to sit down and share a cup of coffee, tell his customers how impressed he is with their passion and devotion the the Apple brand.
I am assuming most likely not.
For small businesses in little towns like Maple Valley it is natural not a tactic for them to actively get to know their customers. This could be easily labeled as just good customer service. I am thinking there is something a bit more core about these businesses.
Here are a few facts about small businesses in the US:
Small Businesses Rock:
- Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
- Employ half of all private sector employees.
- Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
- Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
- Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
- Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.
- Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
– Statistics from Advocacy Small Business Statistics and Research
Small businesses understand the pure economics of their love for their customers. I can bet that most successful entrepreneurs do too.
When a great entrepreneur has an idea and brings it to life by creating a business the simple truth is, in order for that business to survive there must be customers. There is a connection that happens with a great business and a customer, which feels a bit like – “You are what I never knew I always wanted!”
Towards the end of high school I was working for PCC, a Seattle area coop. 99.998% of all my customers were fantastic! Great conversations that stemmed from a genuine a passion for our local community, farms and world. I came into work inspired. I learned to remember customers names, their favorite sandwiches and sit down with them on my breaks like friends. We would talk about green energy, ideas around how to create more awareness about local farming and of course about cars. I was highly encouraged by the leadership to be me and connect with our customers.
Great businesses does more than take money from customers for the sake of keeping their doors open. Small businesses are the masters at listening, asking questions and improving their business not just to bring in more cash, but to make the customers happy. (Sounds like key ideas for a happy marriage as well). They love their customers. Love feeling they have helped them, made their lives better and been able to connect beyond their brand and on a personal level. They are the real leaders, the experts in keeping happy customers coming back for more conversations while sipping lattes lattes, exploring great art or while chatting up as they get their hair done.
One of my favorite businesses that have really shown their love has been Coho Cafe. From their social media efforts to in person you will feel as a customer and as part of the community you are genuinely appreciated and even loved.
How does your company show love to customers?